Warriors Wednesday: Moonrise, by Erin Hunter

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Author’s website
Publication date – July 21, 2005

Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) Darkness, air, water, and sky come together and shake the forest to its roots as The New Prophecy series comes to paperback.

Thoughts: Wow, what a lousy summary. I wish I had the power to update that on GoodReads, because that tells you absolutely nothing except that the book’s now out in paperback.

Ahem, anyway…

The second series of Warriors books continues here, with the two-sided story of the Clan cats and their latest adventure. The forest is really starting the feel the pinch of the Twoleg invasion, as humans start rolling their construction vehicles in and tearing up trees and generally making life difficult for the cats who live there. Meanwhile, Brambleclaw and the other cats chosen by Starclan to lead their Clans to a safer place, are on their way home, and decide to go through snowy mountains rather than go back the exact way they came.

This, of course, leads to them discovering that they’re not the only cats in the world. The mountains are home to the Trive of Rushing Water, who live in a cave behind a waterfall, and who have their own warrior ancestors and prophecies. One of which is that a cat will come to save them from the viscious Sharptooth, who is described as a bloodthirsty cougar with a taste for other cats. Stormfur is taken for the cat of prophecy, and is forced to stay behind when the others are forced out.

But things aren’t always what they seem, as always happens with prophecies.

Many things about this book have improved over the previous book. Squirrelpaw is still a brat, but not as much as she used to be. Cats no longer invoke Starclan with quite as much regularity and pointlessness. The tone is darker, much like the first series of books was. And it was quite interesting to see a new group of cats whose ways were similar and yet different than the ways of the Clans.

Many people have already made their commentary on the impossible geography of this book, and so I won’t go into it in detail here. But really, a mountain range so close to the ocean, and so close to temperate fields and forest on the other side… It stretches the imagination. I know it’s said that the cats travelled for more than a month, but still. A cat’s pace is going to be slower than a human’s, and I can’t think of many places in the world where this terrain change would happen. Artistic license and suspension of disbelief is high in this book, in places.

The real low point for me was Feathertail’s death. Character death in these books is nothing new. Get attached to any character at your own risk, because there’s every chance they’re going to end up dead by the end. And while it was a heroic and sad death under normal circumstances, it struck me all the harder this time because unlike the last time I read it, I now have a cat who looks a fair bit like Feathertail was described. It hit home. I suspect this may be the norm for many cat owners who read these books.

But I was definitely happy to see that so many of the little things that bothered me about the first book were lessened in this second novel. I hope that trend continues, and we get back to the tone and feeling that was present in the first series of Warriors books, which were what hooked so many people on the lives and adventures of feral cats in the first place.

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